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Inviolable stupor of his reign,
Where lust, and turbulent ambition, sleep,
Death took swift vengeance. As he life detests,
More life is still more odious; and, reduc'd
By conquest, aggrandizes more his pow'r.
But wherefore aggrandiz’d? By heav'n's decree,
To plant the soul on her eternal guard,
In aweful expectation of our end.
Thus runs death's dread commission : “ Strike, but so,
“ As most alarms the living by the dead.”
Hence stratagem delights him, and surprize,
And cruel sport with man's securities.
Not simple conquest, triumph is his aim;
And, where least fear'd, there conquest triumphs most.
This proves my bold assertion not too bold.
What are his arts to lay our fears asleep?
Tiberian arts his purposes wrap up
In deep dissimulation's darkest night.
Like princes unconfest in foreign courts,
Who travel under cover, death assumes
The name and look of life, and dwells among us.
He takes all shapes that serve his black designs:
Tho' master of a wider empire far
Than that, o'er which the Roman eagle flew.
Like Nero, he's a fiddler, charioteer,
Or drives his phæton, in female guise;
Quite unsuspected, till, the wheel beneath,
His disarray'd oblation he devours.
He most affects the forms least like himself,
His slender self. Hence burly corpulence
Is his familiar wear, and sleek disguise.
Behind the rosy bloom he loves to lurk,
Or ambush in a smile, or wanton dive
In dimples deep; love's eddies, which draw in
Unwary hearts, and sink them in despair.
Such, on NARCISSA's couch he loiter'd long
Unknown; and, when detected, still was seen
To smile ; such peace has innocence in death!
Most happy they! whom least his arts deceive.
One eye on death, and one full fix'd on heav'n,
Becomes a mortal, and immortal man.
Long on his wiles a piqu’d and jealous spy,
I've seen, or dreamt I saw, the tyrant dress;
Lay by his horrors, and put on his smiles.
Say, muse, for thou remember'st, call it back,
And shew, LOREnzo the surprising scene;
If 'twas a dream, his genius can explain.
'Twas in a circle of the gay I stood.
Death would have enter'd ; Nature pusht him back;
Supported by a doctor of renown,
His point he gain'd. Then artfully dismist
The sage; for death design’d to be conceal’d.
He gave an old vivacious usurer
His meagre aspect, and his naked bones;
In gratitude for plumping up his prey,
A pamper'd spendthrift; whose fantastic air,
Well-fashion'd figure, and cockaded brow,
He took in change, and underneath the pride
Of costly linen, tuck'd his filthy shroud.
His crooked bow he straiten'd to a cane;
And hid his deadly shafts in Myra's eye.
The dreadful masquerader, thus equipt,
Out-sallies on adventures. Ask you where?
Where is he not ? For his peculiar haunts,
Let this suffice ; sure as night follows day,
Death treads in pleasure's footsteps round the world,
When pleasure treads the paths, which reason shuns.
When, against reason, riot shuts the door,
And gaiety supplies the place of sense,
Then, foremost at the banquet, and the ball,
Death leads the dance, or stamps the deadly die ;
Nor ever fails the midnight bowl to crown,
Gaily carousing to his gay compeers,
Inly he laughs, to see them laugh at him,
As absent far : And when the revel burns,
When fear is banisht, and triumphant thought,
Calling for all the joys beneath the moon,
Against him turns the key; and bids him sup
With their progenitors-He drops his mask;
Frowns out at full; they start, despair, expire.
Scarce with more sudden terror and surprize,
From his black masque of nitre, touch'd by fire,
He bursts, expands, roars, blazes, and devours.
And is not this triumphant treachery,
And more than simple conquest, in the fiend?
And now, LORENZO, dost thou wrap thy soul
In soft security, because unknown
Which moment is commission'd to destroy?
In death's uncertainty thy danger lies.
Is death uncertain? Therefore thou be fixt;
– he drops his mask, Frowns out al full ; they start, despair, orpine?
London; Pub! Jan 11802.by Vernor & Hood, and the other Proprietons.